PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- The Marriott CasaMagna here set out to
help the marine environment by participating in an annual sea
turtle program in cooperation with the National Institute of
Each year from May through September, thousands of sea turtles
arrive on the resort's beaches to lay their eggs.
Normally the eggs would incubate in the sand until they hatched,
but the recreational activities that take place on the beach make
Each night throughout the five-month hatching season, the
resort's staff patrols the beach to gather the eggs, which are then
transported -- still in their nests to best preserve natural
conditions -- off the property for incubation.
By early November, the hatchlings emerge from their eggs, ready
to be released at their nesting site at the resort's beach with the
help of guests and recreational staff.
"A lot of people, both adults and children, participate in the
release," according to Dennis Whitelaw, general manager of the
Whitelaw said the program was started to support a federal law
protecting the sea turtle as an endangered species.
Since the program's inception in 1987, they are no longer in
danger of extinction.
It has become tradition that the children name their tiny sea
turtle babies before setting them free to find their way into the
Because the vulnerable baby sea turtles face threats to their
survival from land predators, the turtles are only released at
The Marriott program is an amenity enhancement, according to
"We invite the guests to meet at the beach at sunset and talk
for about 15 minutes about the program. Then participants are given
instructions on how to release the turtles," he said, adding that
anywhere from 90 to 200 people either watch or participate in the
The staff uses this opportunity to educate children about the
sea turtles and Mexico's environmental awareness initiatives to
"As a result of our Sea Turtle Release Program, 96% of these
eggs will hatch," said Whitelaw. "Prior to this program, only 40%
of the eggs would hatch. So we're happy to be doing a real service
to aid in the recovery of the sea turtle population."
Whitelaw recently received Marriott's Echo award for promoting
ecological and environmental efforts in Mexico.
The Marriott CasaMagna's sea turtle program follows the
procedures established by the National Institute of Fisheries and
the Fishing & Marine Biology Station of the University of
Sea turtle season is a good time for families to take advantage
of the resort's All-Inclusive Value Vacations.
The packages include accommodations, all meals and beverages,
taxes, gratuities and use of the resort's recreational facilities.
Up to two children can stay and eat for free when sharing a room
with their parents.
Rates start at $224 per night, double. This offer is available
now through Dec. 18.
The resort features 433 guest rooms and 29 suites. Facilities
include tennis courts, a pool, golf, restaurants, fitness center
and the Club de la Casa children's program.
For more information or reservations, call (800) 223-6388 or
visit the Web site at www.offshoreresorts.com.